6 min read


What Can Dogs Predict?



6 min read


What Can Dogs Predict?


Do dogs have a crystal ball or a sixth sense that allows them to see the future before it happens?

Like a captivating scene from an X-Files episode, our canine friends are making headlines for their ability to predict natural disasters - like earthquakes and storms - well before the alarm is activated. Science studies are aware of the close connection between man and dog and how they understand our emotions, so what’s the deal on canines having the heads up on impending events. 

You may have wondered how your dog always knows when you leave for work and return, implying a secret knowledge of time - or is it something else unexplained and mysterious. This is a fascinating story that needs to be told.


Signs of Dogs Predicting Things

Dogs have natural powers of perception that alert them to things happening in their environment. Their ability to forecast bad weather on the way is well documented, with countless tales of pups getting highly agitated before a storm is about to hit. Some folks tell of a feeling in their bones or a knee that starts acting up when rain is on the horizon, while dogs use noise and body language to get their owners attention.

Could dogs save lives if they were able to foretell the coming of a hurricane or perfect storm?

Our canine friends could be a great help if we listen and learn what they have to say. Their incredible sense of smell and hearing puts them in the front row of a major weather event or earthquake. Yes, dogs have been known to predict the ground is about to shake. Humans look to seismographs, while dogs just seem to know an earthquake is imminent.

Our mystical mutts have been known to howl, bark, or pace up and down moments before an earthquake, causing one to ask if this is possible. If they are not psychic, then how are dogs predicting disasters?

The men in white coats who look for the logic in all things unexplained will tell us dogs hear the seismic activity of rocks breaking under the ground - due to their extraordinary powers of hearing. It’s true, dogs can hear four times further than us plus they can interpret sound at much higher frequencies, so is this how they predict an earthquake or a tornado?

One question follows another as we delve into unchartered territory, trying to separate fact from fiction.

Take the tale of Shadow, an Alabama poodle who alerted her sleeping master to a tornado. He was awoken to her barking and jumping up on him, which was out of character for this poodle-pooch. But once her pet dad turned on the TV, he saw a tornado was on the way and alerted his wife who was working miles away in her store. Shadow's advance warning helped them escape.

Another story tells of two dogs who predicted the same tornado was coming by growling and barking, then seeking shelter in a small room at the back of the house.

Dogs act in peculiar ways when a storm or earthquake is close. They may show behavioral signs never seen before, like scratching at the floor, escaping out the back door, chewing on the furniture, drooling, panting or lunging at their owner as they are experiencing the fear of what is to come

Some say a dog can sniff a storm coming and this might be a fact, as they are blessed with an incredible sense of smell with 300 million scent glands - compared to our mere 6 million. With their amazing hearing and sniffer-noses, our darling dogs are natural predictors of storms and earthquakes.

Body Language

Here are signs your dog can predict the future:<br/>

  • Whining
  • Panting
  • Chewing
  • Howling
  • Scratching
  • Pacing

Other Signs

More signs your dog can predict an earthquake or storm are:<br/>

  • Running To The Storm Shelter/Basement
  • Sniffing Out A Storm
  • Lunging At Owner
  • Escaping

History of Dogs Predicting Disasters


Ancient Greek historians observed animals leaving the city of Helice hours before a major quake demolished the city. In 1975, lives were saved when the Chinese city of Haicheng was evacuated prior to a 7.3 magnitude earthquake when unusual animal behavior raised the alarm. Step forward to 2004 when elephants moved quickly to higher ground in the wake of a Tsunami in Japan. In 2009 a colony of toads left their pond days before an earthquake and in 2008, toads were seen everywhere on the streets of Mianzhu, China.

Dogs are also strong indicators of trouble ahead, as you’ll see with the story of Champ, an English setter who predicted a tornado that destroyed his pet guardian’s home. The day of the tornado, Champ had gone down to the basement and wouldn’t come out. They lived too far from the town to hear a warning siren, so the moment Champ’s pet mom and dad saw the tornado, they joined him in the basement. They know better now than to ignore their pup and believe he has the ability to predict storms. This dog saving story was recorded by CBS news.

Throughout history, dogs have been sending alarm bells to their owners by behaving a little crazy when an earthquake or storm is brewing. If they could talk, we imagine they would say “get out of here,” “or take cover", as they predict something bad is about to happen. We need to heed the warming and take note of our dog’s behavior, especially if it is out of character – it might just save your life!

Science Studies Of Dogs Predicting Events


China has become so serious about the way animals react to an earthquake, they have set up cameras in zoos and animal parks so seismologists can monitor changes in animal behavior as a prerequisite to an earthquake event.

When you think that around 500,000 plus earthquakes happen each year, with seismologists still not being able to pinpoint the exact moment they will hit, the prospect of dogs and their animal kingdom friends giving us the news in advance, might seem a great idea. 

Scientists believe you’re Chihuahua, Doberman or Greyhound senses electrical signals magnified by movement under the ground or the smaller waves that prelude the "big one". Their highly-tuned hearing can pick up the smallest shock. That’s all well and good, but how do we explain hibernating snakes suddenly vacating their burrows a month before the massive 1975 earthquake in China or animals caught on camera by Scientists in Peru, leaving the area days before an earthquake?

Could it be so simple to assume dogs and other animals can predict a tornado, hurricane or earthquake? Science says it inconclusive, a favorite term to leave us hanging, but dogs do seem to be aware when nature is about to test our endurance!

Training Ideas For Dogs Predicting Disasters


Here’s a hypothesis that might make you sit up a think!

If scientists decided dogs can predict natural disasters, what kind of training program would be put in place to advance their skills? We're sure all the top trainers would be intrigued to list their views as we create the first trained dogs to predict storms and earthquakes. We know dog's have a unique insight and are tuned to nature so it would be interesting to see how many lives might be saved.

If our doggy-mates can be trained to detect cancer in all its forms then why not weather events?

“The Best Health Mag,” reported a story about a dog called Captain Jennings, a miniature poodle who has been part of a study to see how well dogs can detect ovarian cancer. His owner, an epidemiologist and medical researcher, trained several Guide dogs plus local mutts with reward motivation, teaching them to identify breath samples from men and women diagnosed with lung and breast cancer. Once the natural sniffing machine got into motion, these dogs were doing the job of detecting cancer.

Dogs can also predict seizures, so surely it's possible to train them to prophesize Mother Nature’s explosive events. It has been suggested the sound and smell of a storm or earthquake could be the basis for training.

Our dogsters are amazing and can be trained to do just about anything, so maybe we’ll see forecasters pups in the future.

Perhaps you're wondering if dogs are actually psychic?  The answer is possibly yes, and some famous psychic dogs in time might just confirm this to be true. Take Jim "The Wonder Dog," who could tell you the sex of a baby before it was born and predict correctly winners of the Kentucky Derby and the World Series. Another fortune telling mutt was Kurwenal, the Dachshund who lived in Germany and was not a fan of the Nazi regime. He would somehow bark letters of the alphabet to protest his dislike for Hitler's reign of terror. 

Dog owners already know their spiritual woofers can see more than us. Humans profess to have psychic gifts and there are cases of dogs showing a similar talent.

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By a Japanese Chin lover Linda Cole

Published: 02/08/2018, edited: 04/06/2020

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